WordCamp Buffalo 2019

WordCamp Buffalo 2019 was held at Buffalo State in Buffalo, NY, and man, it was SO informative. This event was a lot smaller compared to previous years, but that didn’t change the fact that the information was impactful and so helpful!

The opening remarks done by Michelle Ames were awesome. She showed her kindness and compassion in her presentation by touching on a topic near and dear, but also tough to hear.

A really great resource was shared in Michelle’s presentation, and I think it’s important for anyone in the online business community to take a look at. You never know what your colleagues may be facing; There is always more going on behind the scenes than what you may see:

https://osmihelp.org/

Open Sourcing Mental Illness is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to raising awareness, educating, and providing resources to support mental wellness in the tech and open source communities.”

With that being said, read on for amazing WP info, hacks, and encouragement…

Google Data Studio

Fun fact, and I’m embarrassed to admit: I JUST learned about GDS at WordCamp this year. But it’s a game changer. If you’ve ever wanted to roll all of your stats into one easy to manage dashboard, this is your ticket.

It brings in your Google Analytics data, which is juicy info in and of itself. But also it brings in Google Search Console data. Which. If you’re not set up in GSC, please get on that. It’s worth the price of admission just because it alerts you if your website is hacked. Oh, and it’s free. So you should definitely get on that. ASAP.

GSD lets you interact with your graphs, giving you insights into how you’re doing traffic wise, where it’s coming from, and some insights into where you may have left traffic hanging. This will also give you a ton of information on where to improve. So if you were ever curious on how to improve your traffic to your website, get this set up, mess around with it a bit to get yourself comfortable, and do some digging.

Women in WordPress

“Know your worth” and “charging what you need” seemed to be the common thread throughout this panel discussion with Chrissie Pollock, Michelle Ames, Jen Witkowski, and Sarah Rowe with the “facilitator” (if you will) being Maryann Reissig.

It was great to hear about how we can support each other in the tech community, and encourage our man-friends to do the same. We, as women, bring a special touch to the industry that wasn’t there 30 years ago (or so I’m told, since I’m just shy of 30). We have that personal touch that men sometimes don’t. Which is understandable. We all have our strong suits, and men (typically) are all business, whereas women (typically) are relationship builders, and have that emotional connection with clients.

*I say typically to avoid offending anyone. Every BODY is different, and it takes all kinds of kinds to make this world go round. I realize that generalizing is frowned upon, but I think we can MOSTLY agree that what I mentioned is TYPICALLY correct. I am avoiding that confrontation from the get-go, and I do not want anyone to feel as if they’re not welcome here because they do not fit a mold. I love you. All of you.

Improving Your Website’s Accessibility

This is something that we ALL need to be way more conscious of when designing and developing websites. Or even making changes. Trevor Johnson-Steigelman did a wonderful job presenting some pretty powerful stats

There is so much that can go into a website that could make it inaccessible to someone.

Even something as simple as an auto-playing audio clip.

For Example: If someone is sitting on the subway with their headphones in, and the volume on that audio clip is at 100%, you just rendered that website inaccessible to that poor soul with headphones in (and now ears ringing). At the same time, if you auto play an audio clip on your website, and someone using a screen reader is already halfway down the page with their reader, they now have to go back through the entire website to attempt to pause or mute that audio. Uhhh, hassle, much?

The slideshow for this presentation does SUCH a great job explaining where to check your accessibility, and steps to take to improve it, that I will just give you the link right here:

https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=EBC2359AED2642F5!27805&ithint=file%2cpptx&authkey=!AC266vcUlIrdigA

Here is a quick link to check your accessibility from the above presentation:

http://wave.webaim.org/

Fun fact: Divi is an accessible theme to use for those using screen readers, or those who have different abilities! YAY!

Another quick tip: When using alt tags on images should be used to describe what the image actually is, not cram it with keywords. Do you know how annoying it would be to listen to a list of keywords every time your screen reader passed over another image. GAG.

Also, out of this presentation, I found a pretty neat resource for dictation or for creating helpful YouTube subtitles. It’s not PERFECT, but it will get the job done! You could probably also use Siri, and talk into your notes app.

Resource: otter.ai

Final Notes

I hope next year’s is bigger, and I hope we can rally the troops to have more speakers. I’m not disappointed at all, but I was missing most of my familiar web faces from previous years! Also, as a UB alumni, going to Buff State felt like cheating LOL #gobulls!

I’m looking forward to attending a couple meetups with the local WordPress developers group and to continue to grow my knowledge in WP and web design for wellpreneurs!

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